August 15, 2015 – Cloudy, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 64
Miles to Date: 5,674
States to Date: 21
An uncharacteristic morning for the West; thick clouds spanned the horizon. Hard to tell which were passing moisture and which were entrapped smoke from the fires all around us. The air smelled of cinders and tasted of soot.
Coming off the hillside where my warmshowers hosts live I came upon several signs: I Control My Own. An Internet search didn’t reveal what these signs were protecting, but in Montana, it could be most any form of private property.
In time, streaks of sun began to filter across the mountains. I could only imagine how glorious the Clark Fork Valley would be in full sunlight.
I appreciate that Montana was the first state to install historical markers along highways (1938). They are uniformly interesting and informative.
However, I am less convinced that every little shack with a coffee pot is brewing Espresso.
I stopped for lunch at the Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival. I find a festival most every weekend, and they are all pretty much the same: lines of craft booths; an alley of food vendors; kiddie rides and a performance stage. The variation (in this case a plethora of products made from huckleberry and art created by chain saws or made from chain saw parts) is insignificant compared to the similarities. Festivals are no place to talk about tomorrow. They are full of people in groups, enjoying each other and their neighbors. Hardly conducive to the conversations my question triggers. Still, I devoured excellent fajitas and a giant bowl of huckleberry ice cream before moving on.
Just outside of town I met a woman cleaning up from her yard sale and we had a terrific interchange. Nothing restores my spirits more than a positive interaction. Besides, the sun came out and the mountains shimmered all the way to Noxon. The Noxon Motel is as basic as can be, yet perfectly clean and neat. I had several hours of solitude until my recent travel companion, Peter, showed up around nine to crash in my room. He’s a nice young man from New Jersey I met three days ago. We’re on the same route. We don’t cycle together – every cyclist has his own rhythm. Still, we’ve landed in the same place the last two nights. Whether that will continue, only the road can tell.